It Doesn’t Look Like the Picture

I always have mixed feelings about letting clients read my trade magazines, but the other day I had left my latest two issues lying around haphazardly and one of my clients picked them up and carried them into the pedi room to read while we did her toes.

She flipped through the pages, mostly skipping ads and articles, looking for nail art pictures and commenting on what she liked and what she didn’t.

Then she found the article about paronychia — complete with pictures.

She was pretty grossed out and read some of the information to me — you know, like it’s news to me. We talked a little about some of the various diseases and conditions one is likely to come across in this business.

Somehow, people are always surprised that real nail techs actually do see this stuff.

After a while she turned the magazine around to show me the photos, which, naturally, were disgusting, and I had to assure her that I’ve never seen anything that gruesome and paronychial infections aren’t really all that uncommon, but they don’t usually get that bad.

That’s when it occurred to me that one big problem with articles about diseases and infections is that whether it be in a trade magazine or a beauty school textbook, the accompanying photos are always the most gruesome, worst-case scenarios that the editors were able to find. Thus ensuring that the average nail tech won’t recognize the disease/condition at all when she encounters it in real life.

I wonder how many funguses get covered over with acrylic, not because of a cavalier attitude about the legalities and/or health dangers of doing so, but because the tech has only seen photos of onychomycosis advanced to such an extreme than a tiny bit of discoloration doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I think we would be well served if our articles included photos of these conditions at varying degrees of advancement. So we know what we’re looking at before it’s too bad to notice.

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